Husband and wife art dealers Nizar and Ellen Jawdat met at Harvard University, where they both were studying architecture. Upon graduating, the art lovers (and art historians) gradually began collecting old master paintings and prints. After living for 10 years in Baghdad, another 10 in Italy and 10 more in London, they discovered one day that they had amassed "quite a big collection of well-known paintings," according to Nizar Jawdat. The only solution was to open a gallery. Specializing in 16th- to 18th-century oils, watercolors and prints ("Sometimes we cheat a little and show 19th century," he says), St. Luke's Gallery takes up the entire first floor -- as well as parts of the second and third floor -- of the Jawdats' lavishly furnished showplace home off Dupont Circle. Upstairs is a window alcove with a delightful ceiling mural that Jawdat jokingly calls his "Sistine Chapel." Downstairs, regular chamber music concerts and lectures are offered to complement the art on exhibit, which is usually focused around a particular theme, artist or time period. Artwork of the vintage shown here does not come cheap, either. Prints can run from $400 to $2,000, which is often the price of a contemporary painting by a local artist in many other D.C. galleries. The oil paintings at St. Luke's will, of course, set you back considerably more. Don't come here armed with your holiday shopping list unless five-figure price tags don't faze you. -- Michael O'Sullivan
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